Category: Kasgen Published Date Written by W. Robinson Mason III
The boldest and most technologically advanced of the New Humans of the World of Hadanum, the Kasgen are few in number, but manipulative in the extreme. They see a future where all the hominids of Hadanum co-exist in harmony -- under their rule.
As their self-appointed name suggests, the Kasgen (translated as "superior origin") have little humility. They see themselves as the natural leaders of Hadanum, and have worked hard to maintain their position as such.
The average Kasgen stands at a little over 7 feet (2.2meters), is thickly muscled, and possesses speed and reflexes that belie their size and match all but the fastest of the Dwarnir. The Kasgen are completely hairless except for their colorless eyelashes, which are visible only at close observation. Their bodies are protected by an unusually hard, compacted fatty layer over extremely elastic skin. This layer acts as a form of natural armor against blunt attacks, and under normal circumstances, only fine-edged weapons are capable of penetrating it. Because of the additional thermal protection it offers, most Kasgen prefer to dress only in loincloths or light robes in moderate climates.
There is almost no visible difference between Kasgen males and females. Due to the fact that females do not deveop breasts unless pregnant, and the relative speed in which their breasts "disappear" after the child has developed an independence from breast-milk, a clothed female Kasgen is likely to be mistaken for a male, and vice versa, when viewed by a member of the "lesser hominids". Only the slightest differences in hip shape, chest muscle allocation, and facial bone structure help the Kasgen tell their two genders apart. Females are also slightly shorter than males, but this height difference is noticeable only by other Kasgen as they all tower over ther other hominds of Hadanum.
Though the size of the average Kasgen is impressive, and their bodies are large and bulky, they need a relatively minimal amount of food to maintain themselves under normal conditions due to a highly efficient digestive system. Their powerful jaws, extra molars and sharp canines ensure that there are few foods on Hadanum they cannot chew, and a powerful stomach assists them in breaking down even the toughest of fibrous plants and meats available to them.
Perhaps the most impressive aspect of the Kasgen body is its potential life-span. They age very slowly, and only begin to show obvious signs of aging after a period of approximately 220 Hadanum years (300 DEY). Kasgen are thought to be able to survive for up to 360 years (500 DEY) before dying a natural death. But since there is a tradition for old and feeble Kasgen to sentence themselves to self-exile from the Kasgen community (taking a few Rem servants with them), no one is completely sure.
Despite the clear physical differences, the Kasgen brain does the most to set them apart from the other hominids. Their ability to adapt and learn is remarkable among the New Humans, and the speed in which a Kasgen can acquire new skills helps assure that no Kasgen need focus on only one trade or responsibility in his or her lifetime. One Kasgen does the work of ten Old Humans, and change is a vital part of their lifestyle.
Most Kasgen have advanced memory retrieval capabilities, and can recite conversations verbatim from decades previous. When it comes to problem solving, a typical Kasgen can occupy his or her mind with approximately four simple tasks at once. This ability adds depth to Kasgen thought patterns, and bestows upon them some predictive abilities as well (especially regarding the actions of the more single-minded hominids of Hadanum). In combat with the lesser hominds, a Kasgen is expected to be able to hold his or her own with 2-4 opponents, depending on melee training.
These mental abilities do have their drawbacks, however. It is a known fact that all Kasgen are at least plagued by one form of minor neurosis. A good fraction of their population suffer from spells of insanity, expressed in the forms of paranoia, sadism, phobias, illusions of grandeur (beyond that of typical Kasgen), and other types of madness, particularly during their youth.
Although a highly disciplined Kasgen can use his or her mental abilities to great effect, a mind out of control can prevent one from making all but the simplest decisions. Because of the dangers this "multiple mind" poses, the Kasgen are trained at an early age to focus their minds on a single train of thought. Kasgen who mature with "free minds" are considered dangerous and because of this Kasgen have made a program of Mind Training a part of the education of all of their young.
Another problem for the Kasgen in a world where they compete with the lesser hominids is their low reproductive rate. Kasgen children usually compose only about 2 percent of the population - "childhood" being generally considered as ending after adolescence at approximately 21 years (15 DEY). Kasgen have used Rem as a way to compensate for their limited numbers. Ironically, this dependence has led to a population mix of their home city of Gentun that is heavily skewed towards Rem. For every one Kasgen in Gentun, five Rem can be found in or around the city.
The Kasgen culture, at least on the surface, is the most complicated of the racial cultures of Hadanum. Each Kasgen shoulders a number of responsibilities, most of which involve managing the activities of their Rem servants. The servants, of Urdreh stock, have become such a part of life that the social structure of the Kasgen would crumble without them.
Fortunately for the Kasgen, only a small number of the Urdreh they capture or breed are unsuitable for a life of service as Rem. Most embrace their servitude, and the few that do not are treated poorly. The "rebels" or "feral Rem" are kept in pens where they live together as barely more than animals, held until they are needed for particularly dangerous or difficult tasks in mining or wilderness exploration. Few, if any, ever return to Gentun once sent on such missions.
Kasgen do not bond for life with members of the opposite sex. Their precious few children are raised by Rem and educated by other Kasgen almost immediately after birth, and do not interact directly with their parents until after they have reached adolescence. At this point, the father and mother take turns teaching the youngster the skills they are most familiar with, in order for the adolescent to function properly in society and carry on the potentially unique duties of the parents. Responsibilities include things such as: trading strategy, combat strategy, architectural design, agricultural management, breeding management, and mining management. With the exception of breeding management, which is always a female task, males and females both are treated in the same way in regard to what duties they are trained for.
The Kasgen are loosely ruled by the greatest of their kind, known as the "Supreme". This Kasgen has proven his or her worth mentally as well as physically, and rarely is the word of the Supreme contested. Even the most egoistic of Kasgen hold a grudging respect for the Supreme, and the Supreme is effective in retaining that respect.
Under the Supreme, the Kasgen have a class system which is subject to constant change. Those Kasgen who prove themselves most valuable to their race are offered positions of higher responsibility, and those who have failed too often in their tasks or have commited some social crime are reduced in rank.
Kasgen also place much emphasis on their physical appearance and muscular bulk. The lowest in rank often include the weak, small or ugly, and such unlucky Kasgen often find themselves in the company of criminals or the insane. Kasgen are often seen walking about with heavy stones tied about and dangling from their elbows and knees or wrapped about their massive chests. The "perfect body" goes a long way towards advancement in rank, and thus the Kasgen are extremely concerned with the upkeep of their physiques.
Despite their obsession with their musculature, however, very few Kasgen actually perform the physical labor related to their responsibilities. Rem do the bulk of their work in this regard. Only the lowest classes of Kasgen find themselves working alongside the Rem, and even then it is always as a trainer or leader.Ultimately, the goal of all Kasgen is to subject all the lesser hominids to servitude. They are aware that they are outnumbered on Hadanum, but believe with conviction that they will prevail with time and careful planning.
Unfortunately for the Kasgen, there are many among them without the vision to overcome these obstacles in the long run, and most Kasgen underestimate the lesser hominids. Due mostly to their experience with the reclusive Dwar and the seeming simplicity of the Urdreh, they see no serious threat aside from the sheer numbers that face them, and expect little in the way of surprises.
-W. Robinson Mason III
Last Updated on Friday, 29 April 2011 15:44